Revealed: Here's what consumers in the UAE spent on in 2022
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Revealed: Here’s what consumers in the UAE spent their money on in 2022

Revealed: Here’s what consumers in the UAE spent their money on in 2022

Majid Al Futtaim’s latest ‘State of the UAE Retail Economy’ Q4 report, revealed that e-commerce sales continued their strong upward trajectory, more than doubling to $6bn in 2022 from $2.6bn in 2019

Neesha Salian
Consumers spend more in Malls in 2022 167896190

Consumers in the UAE spent over 19 per cent more in 2022 compared to the previous year, revealed Majid Al Futtaim’s latest State of the UAE Retail Economy Q4 report.

There was a notable 13 per cent growth in spending across the retail economy for the full year including, leisure and entertainment (29 per cent), fashion (25 per cent), hypermarkets and supermarkets (11 per cent) and general retail (9 per cent).

This increase was driven by the rise in consumers, particularly international visitors to the UAE, which more than doubled to 14 million in 2022, bolstered by major events including FIFA World Cup in neighbouring Qatar.

Macroeconomic trends

According to the report The UAE posted its strongest annual GDP growth since 2006, jumping to 7.9 per cent, from 3.9 per cent in 2021.

The drivers of this boost were broad-based, across oil and non-oil sectors.

As expected, oil remained the main component due to a rise of around 38 per cent in the average oil price, causing the sector to rebound to 11.4 per cent growth, after contracting by 0.7 per cent the previous year.

The non-oil economy demonstrated robust growth at 6.6 per cent, buoyed by government efforts to attract investments and boost the country’s tourism sector.

Consumers opt for discounts and deals

The final quarter of 2022 saw people becoming more cautious with their spend, opting for discounts and deals for essential items, and cutting back on non-essentials such as electronics.

The average spend per transaction in hypermarkets and supermarkets was down 3 per cent during the year, however overall spending in the segment was up 11 per cent on the year prior, showing movement towards smaller basket value and more frequent transaction.

The extended 2.5-day weekend also influenced the increase in consumer spend, with weekend retail sales increasing by 11.3 per cent versus the previous year. This translated to additional spending of approximately Dhs5.5bn according to Majid Al Futtaim point of sales (POS) data.

Consumer sentiment remained optimistic

Inflation was a reality in 2022 ending the year at 5.2 per cent, however, it was still significantly less than elsewhere in the world.

Consumer optimism remained high though, despite inflation. In Majid Al Futtaim’s Happiness Lab survey, approximately 90 per cent of respondents viewed the UAE’s current economic situation positively.

The Majid Al Futtaim POS data indicated that this optimism is evidenced by a peak in absolute consumer spending in Q4 2022, which accounted for 29 per cent of all retail economic activity during the year.

Growing preference for e-commerce

Analysis suggests that the UAE has the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce market, with sales forecast to reach $9.2bn by 2026.

Spending in this area peaked in Q4 2022 and grew by 20 per cent for the full year compared to 2021, with three-quarters of consumers saying that digital payment methods are the preferred option, according to Majid Al Futtaim POS data.

Fintech solutions such as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) gained pace, with 45 per cent of consumers using BNPL financing in the past year, up from 21 per cent a year earlier.

A majority of online spending by residents was in the hypermarket and supermarket sector, which witnessed spending growth of 40 per cent during the year. In other news, Majid Al Futtaim’s consolidated revenue increased by 12 per cent to Dhs36.3bn in 2022.

Read: Majid Al Futtaim reports 12% rise in revenue in 2022, visitors to malls rise by 16%

Majid Al Futtaim benefitted from an increase in consumers visiting shopping malls, higher hotel occupancy and admissions at cinemas, leisure and entertainment venues.
However, the group reported a 2 per cent decrease in net profit to Dhs2.4bn and continues to maintain a strong balance sheet, with assets valued at approximately Dhs66bn, up 9 per cent year-on-year, and net borrowings of Dhs14.2bn, it said in a statement.

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